Monster Outbreak is an upcoming base-defence game with a sturdy foundation of gameplay. From the demo I played, the gameplay was addictive, though not without its faults. The demo begins with a beautifully-drawn cutscene, telling the events of the narrative thus far. A king found a precious stone deep within his mines, hoping it would lead to dimensions of infinite possibility, but instead brought monsters to the earth. Simple stuff, but the great pixel art style elevates it.
Next comes a simple tutorial, and my main issue with the combat is soon revealed - there's no omnidirectional attacks. This makes the combat feel static and awkward, having to line up attacks each time in a clunky fashion in this grid-based style. This could be perhaps helped by having some skills that attack in all directions.
After the tutorial, I arrived at Miner's Paradise, and soon got to building a base to defend. I went with the central area with the natural mountains to act as a chokepoint, then put up fences and traps to help. Generally, base-building is intriguing, with a number of options, more of which I imagine will be in the final release. However, the menu that appears to select the base tile is hard to navigate quickly, and seems geared towards controllers, despite there being no controller option present in the demo. This is also apparent when switching weapons - you have to hold control and either W, A, S, or D to change between your sword, bow, hammer, and axe respectively, when they could just be assigned to numbers.
In building your base, you'll need to use these tools to gather resources before beginning the wave timer, which appears after placing the three vital parts of a base (crafting table, cooking pot, and a flag to protect your base). You can also build objects such as enchanting tables, and imbue your weapons with different elements, though this requires some more uncommon items.
When the wave starts, you'll be assaulted by a number of enemies, from the quintessential slime to a giant plant monster, but all look and feel quite distinct. At the end of wave ten, you'll face a boss, and then move onto the next area. It's an easy formula, but I still found some waves difficult, as on my first try, not knowing much about the various tools at my disposal, I tried to take on the enemies by myself and lost a lot of health. I do hope the game will remain this difficult throughout however, as it felt engaging to be challenged.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with the Monster Outbreak demo, and I look forward to playing its final release, when it launches on PC in 2022.